Thursday, January 7, 2010

UFC Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights Review - Disc 5

Four discs down, four more to go. Onward we go into the top 50 fights in UFC history!

49. UFC 71: Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine: Remember how when reviewing the Jardine-Chuck Liddell fight, I said that Jardine is one of those guys who overperforms against guys to whom he's supposed to lose and underperforms against guys he's supposed to beat? Yeah, this is the other one. Alexander is making his UFC debut and just slaughters Jardine, hitting him so hard that it looks like Houston's punches are lifting Jardine off the ground. Of course, Alexander would then go on to have a Keith Jardine-like career in UFC, so it kind of evened out here.

48. UFC 35: Jens Pulver vs. B.J. Penn: This is for Pulver's lightweight championship. The announcers note that BJ got his title shot with only 3 fights in UFC, so I don't want to hear any more complaining about Brock Lesnar's meteoric rise, OK? BJ looks like he's 15 years old here. Penn tries hard but is just outclassed by Pulver.

47. UFC 31: Chuck Liddell vs. Kevin Randleman: Chuck knocks Randleman out very quickly, and Kevin jumps right back up to angrily protest the stoppage. I'd consider the possibility it was an early stoppage except for the fact that John McCarthy is the ref, and he's the best ref in the business.

46. UFC 71: Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell: And exactly 40 numbered UFC cards later, we get the Randleman fight in reverse, as Jackson quickly knocks out Liddell who goes nuts protesting to the ref - John McCarthy. Double-irony alert: the announcers reference the Randleman fight milliseconds before Chuck gets knocked out. Quinton wins the light-heavyweight title, and Chuck's career as a main eventer basically comes to an end here. Seeing these two fights back-to-back on the same DVD is something.

45. TUF 4 Finale: Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell: This is the craziest fight with the craziest finish you'll ever see. Sell and Smith are friends, agreed to go into the octagon and just stand and bang, and proceed to do just that, with added high fives, hugging and smiles. It's kinda surreal. The finish sees Sell just cripple Smith with a bodyshot to the lower ribs. Smith doubles over in obvious pain, and as Sell is coming in for the kill, Smith fires a desperation right hand that KO's Sell. They both end up dead on the mat, only Smith gets the nod for the win because he's, well, conscious, and Sell isn't. Best. Finish. Ever.

44. UFC 83: Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra: UFC includes the trash-talking build-up to the fight, which was tremendously successful in building up the rematch for the welterweight championship ... and then they basically admitted after the fight it was (to use a pro-wrestling term) worked to, well, build up interest in the fight. As if there wasn't going to be enough interest in GSP challenging for Serra's title in a rematch of the biggest upset in history in Montreal? Really now. At any rate, this match goes how the first one should have, with GSP dominating Serra to become the undisputed welterweight title holder. Another MMA clinic put on by GSP. The crowd pop in Montreal is deafening when GSP is announced as champion after the fight. Amazing.

43. UFC 45: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg: OK, this wasn't the fight I thought it was, but it's pretty good. Basically a mat-based wrestling match that ends in a standing choke, as Hughes clamps on a choke that looks like a sleeper hold that would make Greg Gagne proud, complete with leaping on to Trigg's back. Trigg taps while standing. Amazingly, there are reporters in the octagon immediately after the fight and before the official announcement interviewing both fighters. Wacky.

42. UFC 56: Georges St. Pierre vs. Sean Sherk: GSP looks like he's fighting in John Cena's jean shorts. GSP outwrestles and outpunches Sherk in Round 1, leading to a round-ending crowd shot of a very pretty and unhappy blonde, who is never identified. Weird. GSP grounds and pounds Sherk to a TKO victory (and a broken nose) in Round 2.

41. UFC 81: Antonio Nogueria vs. Tim Sylvia: This is for the interim UFC heavyweight title that was created during Randy Couture's quitting/boycott/lawsuit/sit out that ended up with him eventually coming back and facing Brock, which led to a weird period where the UFC briefly had two heavyweight titles being defended at the same time. Although both Nog and Tim are the same age (31) Big Nog always looks like he's about 50 years old. Sylvia is, of course, a former UFC heavyweight champion, and Nog is a former Pride heavyweight champion. Sylvia dominates Round 1, knocking down Nog and nearly finishing him at one point. Nog gets his legs back in Round 2, and it's a more even round. And in Round 3, Nog takes Sylvia down, sweeps him and locks on a choke for the win and the title. Pretty amazing comeback for a guy who was all but done in Round 1.

40. UFC 15: Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort: This is one 15-minute round from the early days of UFC. Randy's the decided underdog in the match but outwrestles and then outstrikes Belfort for the "upset" victory. Keep an eye on this Randy Couture guy, I think he's going to go places. Fight is also notable for Couture's spandex shorts tearing early in the fight, exposing his ruby-red briefs underneath.

39. UFC 84: Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine: Remember how I said earlier in this review that Jardine ... oops, nevermind, Silva just knocked him out.

38. UFC 31: Randy Couture vs. Pedro Rizzo: This is for Randy's UFC heavyweight title and it is, I believe, the fourth match from the UFC 31 card to make it to the 100 Greatest Fights set, which must surely be a record for a single fight card. The commentary makes it clear that Randy is already a two-time heavyweight champion by this point. Randy overwhelms Rizzo near the end of the first round, blasting him with elbows and Rizzo pulls a Sean Sherk and bleeds all over the place. Rizzo survives the round, though. Round 2 is all Rizzo, as he chops Randy in half with a brutal leg kick to the ribs, and Randy never recovers, getting pounded for the entire round. He's literally saved by the bell at the end of the round, as Randy was moments from having the fight stopped. Round 3 is even, with both guys pretty gassed. Ditto Rounds 4 and most of 5, but Rizzo decks Randy with a kick with 5 seconds to go and leaves him dazed as the fight ends. Randy gets the win and looks surprised. Very good fight.

37. UFC 3: Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo: Another blast from the past. Gracie, of course, is a legend, and Kimo was, well, Kimo - a "travelling minister" with JESUS tattooed on his stomach (and a bad case of acne on his back next to his other Jesus crucifixion tattoo). Kimo mandhandles Gracie for about 3 minutes but then gasses and Gracie taps him out. Still, this fight went pretty far to shatter the Gracie myth.

36. UFC 52: Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture: Randy's light-heavyweight belt is on the line. Chuck pokes Randy in the eye about 2 minutes into the first round, Randy never really recovers and Chuck knocks him out. A better fight than it reads here, because it was 2 minutes of two guys slugging it out at full speed. Thumbs up. Chuck has one of the better non-GSP title celebrations I've seen. I mean, he's REALLY happy to have won the belt.

35. UFC 48: Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia: One of the more gruesome finishes in UFC history sees Mir win the heavyweight title by breaking Sylvia's arm in an arm-bar. Referee Herb Dean properly stops the fight before Tim taps ... and Tim, the crowd and the announcers are all incredulous wondering why the fight was stopped. Until the replay is shown, and Joe Rogan gets all grossed out by the sight of Sylvia's forearm snapping in the wrong direction. As the crowd boos in the post-fight interview, Frank declares that next time, he'll break the arm clean off so there's no controversy. He's such a great heel. I love this man.

34. UFC 84: B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk: This is one of those rare fights when I'm actively rooting for BJ Penn, as Sherk is just coming back of his steroid suspension, which resulted in him being stripped of the lightweight title. It's basically a long boxing match, which has Joe Rogan questioning Sherk's strategy since he's, you know, a wrestler. Anyway, BJ eventually pounds Sherk into the octagon and KOs him for the victory. Highlight of the fight were the "STEROID" chants coming from the crowd.

A pretty good disc that I enjoyed more than Disc 4. Onward to  Disc 6!
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